Try biking! If you aren’t biking already, it’s time to pull your bike out of the garage and dust it off. We’ve always assumed that biking is better for the planet than driving a car, but know one has ever quantified it – until now. A recent study determined that if Midwesterners started using bikes for 50% of their short-distance (2.5 miles or less) trips, the combined benefits of improved air quality and physical fitness would exceed $7 billion/year. Imagine how much bigger that number would be if we expanded it across the United States!
I’ve recently started using my bike to pick up Little Miss from daycare in the afternoons. It’s about two miles away, and biking takes me about 15 minutes one way. This actually isn’t much longer than it would take if I took my car! The benefits have been far more than I ever imagined. In addition to getting in a bit of exercise without taking extra time out of my schedule, I’ve developed a valuable bonding experience with Little Miss. She loves talking about everything going on around us on our way home. We have some of our best conversations on our bicycle trips.
I have a friend who bikes everywhere on the days when he isn’t working. He always knows so many details about our neighborhood, and I never knew how – now I do! Biking forces you to really pay attention to what is going on around you. People also pay more attention to you. It’s nice to be able to bond with your neighbors, from a friendly wave to a short conversation. Our bike set-up always gets smiles and great comments, it makes me feel good to know that we brightened someone’s day!
I challenge you to replace at least one trip each week with your bike – you may find yourself hoping on that bike more than you think after you discover all of the benefits!